Alia Abdullah Ali Salem Al Nayedi Image Credit: ABDUL RAHMAN/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Dancing has always been a part of Alia Abdullah Ali Salem Al Neyadi's life.

Her mother, Svetlana, a Ukrainian expatriate, is a Ballet Master in her own right and would take Alia along to the classes she taught at her studio, the Fantasia Ballet Centre, ever since she was little. But it was a few years before Alia decided to follow in her mother's footsteps.

"Even though my mom's a ballet teacher, I didn't start dancing until I was seven. I did gymnastics first and then did horse riding for a year before I finally decided to be a ballerina," Alia said.

The 16 year old admitted that it took her two to three years to get used to dancing ballet, especially when she began dancing on pointed toe.

"When I first started dancing, I would practice two to three times a week, but now I practice at least six times a week... there isn't much time for me to relax but I don't mind because it's not just work for me, it's a hobby," the ballerina said, laughing.

What helped Alia through the long training sessions was friends as well as her older sister, Catherine, who is also a dancer.

"It's a bit hard for me to find some time to relax, but what helps is that I have every Sunday off plus sometimes I don't have to practice during the weekends, which is great. Also, my troupe and I go on several trips abroad to dance. Last year we went to Ukraine, and we are also going there again this year in September we hope to go and perform in India as well," Alia said.

The Fantasia Ballet Centre group, including Alia and her sister, danced successfully at a special charity recital for special needs children on Thursday at the National Theatre. Next year, Alia will be going to university and she already knows she wants to study business and art in New York.